Thursday, July 10, 2014

Zambia/Zimbabwe: Lake Kariba Claims Its Eighth Victim of a Crocodile Attack

A retired school administrator Mac Bailey, believed to have been in his 60s, was  killed by a 14-foot-long crocodile at the Lake Kariba tourist resort in the north-west of the country on Sunday (July 6).

Mr. Bailey was dragging his yacht up on the bank of the lake near Gache Gache Lodge on Sunday afternoon when the massive crocodile  lunged out of the water at him.

The killing of Mac Bailey was the eighth recorded fatal crocodile attack at the lake since the beginning of the year.
 
Lodge owner Pat Townsend said Mac's wife, Jenny, was with her husband at the time  and witnessed the attack.

Police and rangers were promptly dispatched to the scene, were successful in finding the crocodile, killing it and recovering Mr. Bailey's body.

Mrs. Townsend told The 
Scotsman: “He’d already jumped off the boat. He was probably just trying to pull it in a little higher. He may have had one foot in the water. It’s just really bad luck. My ex-son-in-law is a professional guide. He was at the lodge that day and helped recover the body.”

The attack happened near Bird Island on Lake Kariba.

Lake Kariba is the world's largest artificial lake by volume. It lies 1300 kilometers (808 miles) upstream from the Indian Ocean, along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
 
The 180-mile long man-made dam is a major resort for fishing, boating and game viewing.
 Kariba is well-known for its hippotamus population and for the spectacular sunset vistas it provides. 

The mean depth of the lake is 29 meters (95 feet); the maximum depth is 97 meters (320 feet).  

COMMENT: Largely deserted during the dark years of Zimbabwe’s 2000-9 economic and political crisis, visitors have been returning to Lake Kariba in the past few years, only to discover that crocodiles have become much more dangerous than previously.

A 34-year-old Kariba resident, Claudius Chimuchocha, was killed by a large crocodile in May.

The success of that program means that the fish in the area are plentiful and thriving, but so are crocodiles.

Locals complain that until recently crocodile farmers released up to 5% of the offspring into Lake Kariba, pushing up the crocodile population dramatically.

Tourists also have been blamed for feeding crocodiles that follow houseboats to get close-up photographs of them.

Lake Kariba is the world's largest artificial lake by volume. It lies 1300 kilometers upstream from the Indian Ocean, along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.